Suite T is bringing author and playwright Sara M. Robinson to our blog today for readers to get to know more about her personally and her books.
Suite T asked Sara why and how she became a poet. We think you will agree, she has been able to answer our question.
She will tell you it is important that we know poetry and why and how it works for all of us as well as writers. Join us as Sara shares her journey.
I’m not sure I can start this by answering the “why” part, so I’ll start with the “How” part. But as I start, I beg your indulgence for a bit of backstory. I am a Virginia local, but only 2nd generation born in America. My paternal family originated from Lithuania, only then it was Russia.
A few brothers settled in the Shenandoah Valley, and my grandfather, along with an arranged marriage bride, settled in the little town of Elkton. I was born and raised in this area, as was my dad.
After college and grad school I went into the industrial chemical mfg. and minerals mining sectors for the remainder of my principal career. I spent around 35 years travelling internationally, publishing loads of papers, getting a patent, attending conferences, giving presentations, and not concerned or interested at all in poetry. So, you can now see I had a lot of catching up to do.
After I retired, friends told me I needed to write a book capturing all the stories I had told for years about my famous photographer father, and my enigmatic mother. Oh yes, there was enough dysfunctionality to make this book interesting. Since I was also an only child, I didn’t need sibling collaborators either. I wrote the book, included some photos, then shopped for a publisher. I found a small boutique publisher and she agreed to take it on. So, in 2009 I became a published author of a memoir.
I thought after that I might want to write short fiction, so I took a creative writing course, and set about to see what I could do. I joined a local writing group and showed up one night at an open mic and read a story. Here comes the poetry part! One of the attendees was a well-known poet who ran a poetry critique group by invitation. She approached me, saying I should be writing poetry. I said I wasn’t sure I even liked poetry much less set about to write any. She recommended some poets to read (i.e., Elizabeth Bishop, Mary Oliver). She left by saying she would see me the following Friday and I should bring a couple of original poems to read.
I responded … “But” … she was out the door and gone.
I read the books, jotted down some lines, then a couple more lines. I went to the workshop and a year and a half later my first book of poetry was published, by a noted Virginia-based small publisher. In that year and a half, I found I was now hooked on poetry. I can’t get enough of it. Reading and writing both!
That’s the backstory. About 7 years ago, my publisher told me of Southern Writers Magazine, and I contacted Susan and Gary. We agreed that a regular poetry column would be a good addition. Thus, began Poetry Matters, the column. I have loved sharing my experiences of writing poetry with others. Now with the Suite T blog I can continue with my little essays on the craft and philosophy of poetry.
Poetry does matter, and we have total and complete proof of this, starting with the works of Homer, Virgil, through Chaucer, though all the centuries, right up until now. Look at all the poetry that has come out since the death of George Floyd and the pandemic. I don’t know who begat who, poets or activists, but I do know that if we are to attempt to understand each other, one way could be through poetry.
Needville is now a play! First performance March 4, 2020
Needville is now a play. The first performance was March, 2020.
Here is one of my Holocaust poems as I read aloud for you:
I’ve been fortunate to read my poetry at the The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, VA., while I was a guest lecturer. The times I have been there have been so fulfilling and magical.
I enjoy so much the enthusiasm of the students and the atmosphere of sharing those envelopes with the entire campus and town. In a next life I would hope to come back there to stay and teach.
Why? Because poetry is the best connector of writers. It is the “hello” of the literary genres.
Poetry starts conversations and then challenges a reader to explore. Emily Dickinson has said this about poetry: “To pile like Thunder to its close / Then crumble grand away / While Everything created hid / This—would be Poetry— …”
For this life I am content to continue to practice my craft. Poetry has given me a whole new persona. So distant from the aloofness and sometimes indifference of corporate life, I find now I want to experience more deeply relationships with people, places, and nature. I am a better partner. I take more time to savor life. For over 9 years I have volunteered at a local senior retirement village. These folks have contributed immensely to my personal growth. Every week we discover new poetry and poets together. We will never run out of resources! What a joy.
I would wish for everyone to have an accidental brush with Poetry.
Visit her website: https://www.saramrobinson.com/
Sara we look forward to many years of your poetry.